Ford closed again

More rain is expected tonight and Marlborough Roads has decided to close Old Renwick Rd again at the Omaka ford for public safety.

Roading officials would reassess the ford again in the morning and decide whether to reopen it to through traffic..

Meanwhile, work was under way today clearing the large slip that blocked Port Underwood Road at Whatamango Hill.

It is expected to be at least a week before the road can be reopened after last week's rainstorm. 

Several thousand cubic metres of debris came down in the Whatamango slip and the instability of the land prevented road crews from beginning the clean-up straight away.

The site was inspected by a specialist on Friday who determined that a large pine tree on the hillside directly above the slip would need to be removed before work could safely begin. A specialist helicopter crew from Wellington (Helipro) was engaged to safely fell the tree on Saturday.

Marlborough Roads highway manager Frank Porter said further assessment of the slopes above the slip scarp would be necessary once the removal of slip material was under way.

The road is open on either side of the slip. Residents who travel from beyond Whatamango back to Picton will have at least an extra hour travel time with the detour through Rarangi. 

Work will also be under way this week getting a replacement bridge in position in Speeds Road between Blenheim and Picton, where the supports on an old timber bridge were washed out by last week's flooding. A temporary bridge will be lifted into place.

The Marlborough Express